Coming to Romania to work with FAST isn't just about the work we do or the people we help. It is a chance for a visitor to explore a relatively undiscovered jewel of Europe. From the high peaks of the Carpathians to the marshes of the Danube River Delta, from the Saxon castles of Transylvania to the traditional churches of Maramures, Romania's exquisite beauty has something for everyone, and is a worthy reward for those who volunteer their time and effort to help our mission.
Romania is situated on the northwest edge of the Black Sea, in southeastern Europe. Bordered by the Black Sea, Moldova, Ukraine, Hungary, Serbia, and Bulgaria, it is the 9th-largest country by area and 7th-largest by population in the European Union, which it joined January 1, 2007. Its capital is Bucharest, which is the 6th largest city in the EU.
Romania is probably best known in the west for the region of Transylvania, which occupies the central and northwest area of the country, and has been associated with the legend of vampires since Bram Stoker wrote the novel Dracula, and for the violent overthrow in 1989 of longtime Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu (pronounced Chosheskoo). However, the country is noteworthy for many other things, from the variety of its landscapes (the Carpathian and Transylvanian Alps mountain ranges and the majority of the Danube River delta are in Romania) to the medieval fortresses and castles that remain throughout the country, to the historic wooden churches in the northern region of Maramures.
All visitors to FAST should see the sights of Brasov County while here: Bran Castle, the fortress at Rasnov, and the Black Church of Brasov (for more, see About Brasov County). But visitors can also spend some time exploring other parts of the country - the delta marshes and Black Sea beaches in the southwest, the hills and mountains of the north and west, and even the historical treasures of Bucharest - the better to really understand the work we do at Centrul Ziurel, and the environment in which we do it.